Cowboy Cookies

These Cowboy Cookies are chock-full of flavor with a soft, chewy texture. Rustle up some oats, chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and flake coconut for a big batch to feed your whole posse.

Cowboy Cookies

The first time I made these cookies, I knew I wanted to post them here on the blog during the holidays – a.k.a. cookie season. The recipe makes a big batch of delicious cookies. If the dough is portioned with a 1/4 cup measure, you’ll get about 3 1/2 dozen extra-large cookies. If you use a smaller cookie scoop, you’ll get about 6 dozen! So if you’re a cookie swapper, or just a cookie gift-giver, then you may want to bookmark this one!

The original Cowboy Cookies recipe was made famous by former first lady Laura Bush in 2000, when it appeared in Family Circle magazine. I’d never given it much serious consideration, and I’d pass it by to try other kitchen sink-style cookies. But earlier this year, when it came across my desktop again, I gave the ingredients another look. Oats, cinnamon, brown sugar… pecans. (Yum!) I’d just bought a 2 lb. bag of pecans so the timing seemed right.

My Secret Ingredient: Whole Wheat Flour

As you can see, this recipe uses quite a few ingredients. However, most are pantry staples. It would be really easy to change up this recipe with dried cranberries, other nuts, and other chips. But I didn’t do that. I kept everything the same. Except one thing. I used a little whole wheat flour. Swapping in whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour in equal amounts adds a new depth of nutty flavor to your cookie recipe (additional interesting reading in this informative article).

Cream the Butter and Sugars

Use your largest mixing bowl, preferably the bowl of a stand mixer. Start with 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature. Whip it until it’s completely smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in the white and brown sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. (This formula almost sounds like the beginning of a cake!)

Add the Dry Ingredients

Next, whisk together the flours, leavens, salt, and a tablespoon of ground cinnamon. The cinnamon is so nice in this batter, and really unifies the flavors. So don’t skip it! Pour the dry ingredients over the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. If you have a stand mixer, then paddle the mixture together on the lowest setting.

Add the Good Stuff

On top of the base batter, add all of the mix-ins. Can you see how full my mixer bowl is? It’s almost to the top! Stir these ingredients in using short bursts of on-off power on your standing mixer. Or gently fold them in by hand using a rubber spatula. Why? Because you want to avoid redecorating your kitchen with oats, chips, and nuts flung all over the place (ha!).

Cowboy Cookies

A the end of mixing, you should have a thick, scoopable, and not very sticky dough.

Cowboy Cookies

Portion these cookies on large parchment-lined baking sheets by the 1/4 cups full. Or, if you have a standard-size trigger ice cream scoop, those are about 1/4 cup capacity. And you can use that instead for the quickest job. Or, as I mentioned earlier, smaller cookies can be made using a small cookie scoop, or portion the dough by the 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons).

Cowboy Cookies

Bake the Cowboy Cookies for 15-ish minutes at 350°F, just until the edges are browned but the centers are still soft. Then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Cowboy Cookies

This is the treat I want in my purse during marathon Christmas shopping trips. They’ll sustain you better than any protein or granola bar. But don’t let that description give you the wrong idea. These are just as worthy of a spot on a fancy holiday dessert buffet. Enjoy!

Cowboy Cookies

Heather Baird
Cowboy cookies are packed with oats, chocolate chips, pecans, and flake coconut. They’re hearty and substantial, and one batch makes about 3 1/2 dozen if scooped by the 1/4 cups. Or, use a standard size cookie scoop to yield about 6 dozen. These cookies are an evergreen favorite, but I think they’re especially good for sharing around the holidays.
Use a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for this recipe, if you have one. As I mentioned, the dough is high yield, so the dough almost reaches the top of my 5 quart KitchenAid stand mixer bowl. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use your largest mixing bowl, or even a large stainless steel stock pot to mix the dough in.
Note the use of unsweetened flake coconut in this recipe. You can use sweetened flake coconut, with a sweeter end result. I do recommend the unsweetened coconut because it’s not as stringy as the sweet stuff, however, you could whiz the sweetened coconut in a food processor for 1-2 seconds for shorter flakes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 42 cookies


  • large cookie sheets (2 or more)


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened flake coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover two or more large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a very large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat to combine.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and adding the next only after the previous one is completely incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until just combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and nuts. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are dispersed throughout the dough.
  • For extra large cookies, scoop cookie dough by level 1/4 cups, or use a standard size trigger ice cream scoop to portion dough onto the prepared pans. Or, use a standard size cookie scoop for smaller cookies. Space the dough mounds at least 3” apart.
  • Bake large cookies for 17-20 minutes, and smaller cookies for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown and the centers are still soft and a little pale. Let the cookies stand on the pan for 3-5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Level 1/4 cups of the dough will yield an extra-large sized cookie. This dough can be portioned for smaller cookies using a standard size cookie scoop. This will yield about 6 dozen cookies.
Store the cookies airtight for longevity.
Avoid over-baking these cookies. Be sure to bake just until the edges are golden and the centers are set but still soft. When cool, the cookies will have slightly crisp edges with a soft, chewy center.
Keyword brown sugar, chocolate chips, chopped pecans, cinnamon, coconut chips, malted milk eggs, rolled oats
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